Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center has adopted a policy requiring employees who have direct contact with patients to be vaccinated against influenza.
Providence Health Center is going even further, requiring virtually every person who works at the hospital to be vaccinated regardless of job description.
The mandates are partly in response to a new state law that took effect Sept. 1. It requires hospitals to establish and enforce written vaccination policies for preventable diseases, though it does not specify which vaccines hospitals must mandate.
But the bigger impetus for the policy changes,, is a growing sentiment within the medical community that health professionals have a duty to get vaccinated.
How are things at your hospital? Are you expecting your hospital administration to mandate vaccinations?
According to a report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, oOne in three healthcare workers didn’t bother getting immunized against influenza during the 2011–2012 flu season, prompting government and infectious disease organizations to push for more aggressive efforts from healthcare organizations.
Even though last season’s overall healthcare worker immunization rates were 3.4% higher than in 2010–11, in hospitals, nearly one in four (23.1%) workers weren’t immunized, in physician offices one in three (32.3%) were not immunized, and in long-term care facilities, nearly half (47.6%) of workers failed to get their flu shots. That’s according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How are things at your hospital? Are you planning on getting immunized?
I hope that you have had an opportunity of looking at the recent survey conducted by Kimberly-Clark concerning hand hygiene. According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections.
The survey indicated that:
- Patients do not ask about hand hygiene. Only 5% of the respondents always ask doctors or staff in hospitals if they have washed were sanitized their hands prior to beginning an exam or procedure.
- There is a low awareness of risk. Among Americans who do not ask healthcare professionals about hand hygiene, 40% said they did not ask because they assume healthcare professionals perform hand hygiene before treating any patient. 34% said they simply don’t think about asking about hand hygiene and 21% said they do not feel it is their responsibility. However, only 30% did not ask because they witnessed their hospital healthcare provider washing or sanitizing their hands.
- Older patients are more hesitant to ask.
- Patients are not offered education such as pamphlets or literature outlining proper hand washing techniques.
I have personally experienced the devastating effects of hospital acquired infections. Because of my personal experience I always ask if a healthcare worker has wash their hands or used alcohol gel prior to touching me.
What about you? As a clinician, when you are personally being examined or having a procedure performed, do you ask about hand hygiene?
We welcome your comments.